Staying Focused

Have you ever had the experience with someone who couldn’t stay focused on the “main thing?”

Someone who seems to always be chasing the next shiny thing?

My experience with these folks is that they’re extremely hard to dissuade from their track – as wild and haphazard that it is.
Recently, I was involved in a business venture with several folks where the leader was the classic squirrel chaser  (do I need to define that for you?). Of course, I didn’t recognize it at first because the original venture plan was very focused and straight forward. But, as time went on, it became more and more apparent that the original plan was not so concrete after all. We were constantly being presented with new, very attractive opportunities. However,  upon closer examination, were way off the original stated company objectives. The focus became searching for the next opportunity for mail box money as opposed to finding prospects and customers for the original stated purpose of the business.

This constant “re-focus” began to create frustration among the partners and key stake holders. So much so, several of us felt our efforts and investment would be better spent elsewhere. The classic case of cut your losses short.
One of the most telling moments in this scenario was when this leader was confronted in a meeting with a challenge to his interest in the next shiny thing. The comment was made that if we were to focus on that new thing, we would be taking our focus off the main thing – or the reason we had established the company. The actual comment was, “If we say yes to that, we’ll be saying no to our core purpose.” A classic statement of focus and purpose.
Shockingly, the leader disputed this axiom calling it false and not applicable. That we could do many things for many different customers – not just our core, original purpose.

Needless to say, that was the beginning of the end of this venture. Several stake holders started peeling away.

  • How are you at staying true to your main purpose?
  • When was the last time you reviewed your core purpose in business?
  • Have you been at it so long that you don’t remember what it is?

An alternative way to look at this is: “The question isn’t what we’re going to do; the question is, what are we NOT going to do?”

Are your people confident that when they come in everyday – the company focus is the same? It’s not constantly shifting is it? Are you?
Having a very clear goal or “main thing” that the entire company is focused on is critical to a thriving, successful company and a strong, cohesive team. Without it, you can’t create a viable marketing plan. Without it, you can’t identify your ideal customer. If your main thing is muddy or constantly changing, I can guarantee that your company is not coming anywhere close to reaching its true worth. I can also guarantee that your people are frustrated and just short of leaving you.
So – how’s your focus? As you strategize and plan for the new year, are you saying yes to too many things? Are you able to say no to the shiny things that distract you?

Stay focused.  Call me.  I can help with that.



Staying focused when everything is drawing you away

Here in Texas we will occasionally drive by a large farm field freshly plowed and ready for planting. All of the furrows are straight for the full length of the field. That’s downright an amazing thing. I’ve sat on a tractor and attempted to plow a long straight line. On a much smaller scale, I’ve had the same challenge mowing a straight line in my own yard. How do they do that?! Well, now days, they get help from a GPS system that keeps them really well aligned. But – that’s not true with a lawn mower. Ever see how straight those lines are across the baseball park?

The secret is to pick a point out at the end of the row and drive toward it. – never look back and never get distracted side to side. A great practice to apply when it comes to achieving our goals. We must keep our eye on the end game – where we’re going not where we are. Jesus once said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.” Well, that’s also true for being successful in business. We must stay rifle focused on our end goal – never looking back – or side to side and set that as a standard for the entire organization to hold to. Or else – we’re not fit for running a business.